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Deforestation trends in the Congo Basin: reconciling economic growth and forest protection

The Congo Basin contains 70 per cent of Africa’s forest cover. This report finds that although the deforestation rates in the area have historically been low, the trend is likely to change dramatically due to the combination factors, including: demographic growth (and associated expansion of subsistence agriculture and fuelwood collection); and the development of the industrial, agriculture, transport, mining and energy sectors. This multi-sectoral analysis of the major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation provides the Congo Basin countries with an analytical tool to better understand the potential impacts of development of other sectors on the forest. A regional model allowed the countries to quantify the impact of ‘policy shocks’, such as increases in the demand of meat and biofuels. These shocks are likely to have significant impacts on forest loss. However, it seems that the Congo Basin would be less affected than the tropical forests or south east Asia and the Amazon.